Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

179 Inspiring Quotes by Plutarch

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Plutarch.

Wikipedia Summary for Plutarch

Plutarch (Greek: Πλούταρχος, Ploútarchos; Koine Greek: [ˈplutarkʰos]; AD 46–after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo. He is known primarily for his Parallel Lives, a series of biographies of illustrious Greeks and Romans, and Moralia, a collection of essays and speeches. Upon becoming a Roman citizen, he was named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (Λούκιος Μέστριος Πλούταρχος).

shillouette photo of person standing at the peak

But the Lacedaemonians, who make it their first principle of action to serve their country's interest, know not any thing to be just or unjust by any measure but that.

--Plutarch

green grass field

God alone is entirely exempt from all want of human virtues, that which needs least is the most absolute and divine.

--Plutarch



red

The poor go to war, to fight and die for the delights, riches, and superfluities of others.

--Plutarch

man standing on sand while spreading arms beside calm body of water

Distressed valor challenges great respect, even from an enemy.

--Plutarch

pink tulips in close up photography

If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of ax.

--Plutarch


wallpaper

For he who gives no fuel to fire puts it out, and likewise he who does not in the beginning nurse his wrath and does not puff himself up with anger takes precautions against it and destroys it.

--Plutarch


yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

Cato requested old men not to add the disgrace of wickedness to old age, which was accompanied with many other evils.

--Plutarch

Vincent Van Gogh self portrait painting on wall

When one is transported by rage, it is best to observe attentively the effects on those who deliver themselves over to the same passion.

--Plutarch

body of water under blue sky during daytime

Since, during storms, flames leap from the humid vapors and dark clouds emit deafening noises, is it surprising the lightning, when it strikes the ground, gives rise to truffles, which do not resemble plants?

--Plutarch


black Sony point-and-shoot camera on yellow surface

The fact is that men who know nothing of decency in their own lives are only too ready to launch foul slanders against their betters and to offer them up as victims to the evil deity of popular envy.

--Plutarch

lavender background

He who least likes courting favour, ought also least to think of resenting neglect; to feel wounded at being refused a distinction can only arise from an overweening appetite to have it.

--Plutarch

white textile on brown wooden table

Epaminondas is reported wittily to have said of a good man that died about the time of the battle of Leuctra, "How came he to have so much leisure as to die, when there was so much stirring?

--Plutarch



five woman standing on seashore

It was better to set up a monarchy themselves than to suffer a sedition to continue that must certainly end in one.

--Plutarch

person wearing round black analog watch at 9:46

Character is simply habit long continued.

--Plutarch



grayscale photography of elephant

Real excellence, indeed, is most recognized when most openly looked into.

--Plutarch

purple, white, and pink floral painting

Riches for the most part are hurtful to them that possess them.

--Plutarch

four person standing beside wall

A few vices are sufficient to darken many virtues.

--Plutarch

close up shot of white flower

When malice is joined to envy, there is given forth poisonous and feculent matter, as ink from the cuttle-fish.

--Plutarch

white stars cutout on black surface with red string

A warrior carries his shield for the sake of the entire line.

--Plutarch

pink tree

Neither blame or praise yourself.

--Plutarch

white and blue building under clear sky

Alcibiades had a very handsome dog, that cost him seven thousand drachmas; and he cut off his tail, "that," said he, "the Athenians may have this story to tell of me, and may concern themselves no further with me."

--Plutarch

sunflower field during daytime

It is part of a good man to do great and noble deeds, though he risk everything.

--Plutarch

white textile in close up photography

Lampis, the sea commander, being asked how he got his wealth, answered, "My greatest estate I gained easily enough, but the smaller slowly and with much labour.

--Plutarch


silhouette photo of couple standing on beach watching sunset

Let a prince be guarded with soldiers, attended by councillors, and shut up in forts; yet if his thoughts disturb him, he is miserable.

--Plutarch

white and gray floral bed sheet

The talkative listen to no one, for they are ever speaking. And the first evil that attends those who know not to be silent is that they hear nothing.

--Plutarch

sunset

The pilot cannot mitigate the billows or calm the winds.

--Plutarch


Longer Version:

It is no great wonder if in long process of time, while fortune takes her course hither and thither, numerous coincidences should spontaneously occur. If the number and variety of subjects to be wrought upon be infinite, it is all the more easy for fortune, with such an abundance of material, to effect this similarity of results. Or if, on the other hand, events are limited to the combinations of some finite number, then of necessity the same must often recur, and in the same sequence.



blue and white striped textile

Where the lion's skin will not reach, you must patch it out with the fox's.

--Plutarch

mountain with tree during daytime

Children ought to be led to honorable practices by means of encouragement and reasoning, and most certainly not by blows and ill treatment.

--Plutarch



aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

To the Dolphin alone, beyond all other, nature has granted what the best philosophers seek: friendship for no advantage.

--Plutarch

silhouette of trees during nighttime

The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.

--Plutarch

pink and white abstract painting

As small letters hurt the sight, so do small matters him that is too much intent upon them; they vex and stir up anger, which begets an evil habit in him in reference to greater affairs.

--Plutarch

red flowers under the blue sky

Courage stands halfway between cowardice and rashness, one of which is a lack, the other an excess of courage.

--Plutarch

yellow flowers

He who reflects on another man's want of breeding, shows he wants it as much himself.

--Plutarch

woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

Zeno first started that doctrine, that knavery is the best defence against a knave.

--Plutarch

blue wall

Let us carefully observe those good qualities wherein our enemies excel us; and endeavor to excel them, by avoiding what is faulty, and imitating what is excellent in them.

--Plutarch

Arizona landscape

Nature and wisdom never are at strife.

--Plutarch

selective focus photography of black and white bird on stem

The conduct of a wise politician is ever suited to the present posture of affairs. Often by foregoing a part he saves the whole, and by yielding in a small matter secures a greater.

--Plutarch

person behind fog glass

Demaratus, being asked in a troublesome manner by an importunate fellow, Who was the best man in Lacedaemon? answered at last, 'He, Sir, that is the least like you'.

--Plutarch

blue sky

Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.

--Plutarch

smiling woman

The state of life is most happy where superfluities are not required and necessities are not wanting.

--Plutarch

None

It is the admirer of himself, and not the admirer of virtue, that thinks himself superior to others.

--Plutarch



red and blue light digital wallpaper

Cicero called Aristotle a river of flowing gold, and said of Plato's Dialogues, that if Jupiter were to speak, it would be in language like theirs.

--Plutarch

pink and white clouds

In human life there is constant change of fortune; and it is unreasonable to expect an exemption from the common fate. Life itself decays, and all things are daily changing.

--Plutarch

white wooden dock on white sand

Grief is natural; the absence of all feeling is undesirable, but moderation in grief should be observed, as in the face of all good or evil.

--Plutarch

silhouette of mountain

In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.

--Plutarch



shallow focus photography of bee on flower

For the correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.

--Plutarch

brown grass field near gray rocky mountain during daytime

The process may seem strange and yet it is very true. I did not so much gain the knowledge of things by the words, as words by the experience I had of things.

--Plutarch


rock formation in body of water

Wickedness is a wonderfully diligent architect of misery, of shame, accompanied with terror, and commotion, and remorse, and endless perturbation.

--Plutarch

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

Wickedness frames the engines of her own torment. She is a wonderful artisan of a miserable life.

--Plutarch

brown leaf on asphalt road

Silence is an answer to a wise man.

--Plutarch

blue, yellow, and purple starry sky during nighttime

There were two brothers called Both and Either; perceiving Either was a good, understanding, busy fellow, and Both a silly fellow and good for little, Philip said, "Either is both, and Both is neither.

--Plutarch

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A Locanian having plucked all the feathers off from a nightingale and seeing what a little body it had, "surely," quoth he, "thou art all voice and nothing else.

--Plutarch

blue and white painted wall

Speech is like cloth of Arras opened and put abroad, whereby the imagery doth appear in figure; whereas in thoughts they lie but as packs.

--Plutarch

white flowers

To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood all our days.

--Plutarch

black floor lamp at the corner

If you light upon an impertinent talker, that sticks to you like a bur, to the disappointment of your important occasions, deal freely with him, break off the discourse, and pursue your business.

--Plutarch

photo of giraffe

It's a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man's oration, it is a very easy matter; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.

--Plutarch

person surfing on sea waves during daytime

Foreign lady once remarked to the wife of a Spartan commander that the women of Sparta were the only women in the world who could rule men. "We are the only women who raise men," the Spartan lady replied.

--Plutarch






two clown fishes underwater

To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.

--Plutarch

aerial photo of brown moutains

The belly has no ears.

--Plutarch

silhouette of kneeling man

It is a difficult task, O citizens, to make speeches to the belly, which has no ears.

--Plutarch





ocean wave in shallow focus lens

Statesmen are not only liable to give an account of what they say or do in public, but there is a busy inquiry made into their very meals, beds, marriages, and every other sportive or serious action.

--Plutarch



person using laptop computer

Among real friends there is no rivalry or jealousy of one another, but they are satisfied and contented alike whether they are equal or one of them is superior.

--Plutarch

white ceramic mug with coffee on brown wooden table

I had rather men should ask why my statue is not set up, than why it is.

--Plutarch

pink rose flower

What most of all enables a man to serve the public is not wealth, but content and independence; which, requiring no superfluity at home, distracts not the mind from the common good.

--Plutarch

black and yellow wall sconce

As bees extract honey from thyme, the strongest and driest of herbs, so sensible men often get advantage and profit from the most awkward circumstances.

--Plutarch

aerial's photo of metropolitan during night time\

The ripeness of adolescence is prodigal in pleasures, skittish, and in need of a bridle.

--Plutarch

two women walking on bridge during daytime

God is the brave man's hope, and not the coward's excuse.

--Plutarch

stars across the sky view at the desert

But a man cannot by writing a bill of divorce to his vice get rid of all trouble at once, and enjoy tranquillity by living apart.

--Plutarch

white snow mountain

The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good education.

--Plutarch

silhouette of a person during sunset

If Nature be not improved by instruction, it is blind; if instruction be not assisted by Nature, it is maimed; and if exercise fail of the assistance of both, it is imperfect.

--Plutarch

woman lying on pool

Moral habits, induced by public practices, are far quicker in making their way into men's private lives, than the failings and faults of individuals are in infecting the city at large.

--Plutarch

man holding his head

There is never the body of a man, how strong and stout soever, if it be troubled and inflamed, but will take more harm and offense by wine being poured into it.

--Plutarch

brown wooden door with silver door lever

Lysander, when Dionysius sent him two gowns, and bade him choose which he would carry to his daughter, said, "She can choose best," and so took both away with him.

--Plutarch

car passing by in between trees

Come back with your shield -- or on it.

--Plutarch

yellow and red color textile

A traveller at Sparta, standing long upon one leg, said to a Lacedaemonian, "I do not believe you can do as much." "True," said he, "but every goose can.

--Plutarch

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

It is indeed a desirable thing to be well-descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.

--Plutarch

brown tree branch during daytime

I, for my own part, had much rather people should say of me that there neither is nor ever was such a man as Plutarch, than that they should say, "Plutarch is an unsteady, fickle, froward, vindictive, and touchy fellow.

--Plutarch

green and white bird on black wire during daytime

The usual disease of princes, grasping covetousness, had made them suspicious and quarrelsome neighbors.

--Plutarch

tan wallpaper

Another Spartan, when he saw men sitting on stools in a lavatory, declared: "May I never sit where it is impossible for me to get up and offer my seat to an older man.

--Plutarch

grassland landscape

For water continually dropping will wear hard rocks hollow.

--Plutarch

group of people inside the room in grayscale photo

Extraordinary rains pretty generally fall after great battles.

--Plutarch

lighted candles on man's hand lying on the floor

A man must have a less than ordinary share of sense that would furnish such plain and common rooms with silver-footed couches and purple coverlets and gold and silver plate.

--Plutarch



Longer Version:

A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no hawk's bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare . . . There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare.


man in black jacket sitting on chair

When Philip had news brought him of divers and eminent successes in one day, "O Fortune!" said he, "for all these so great kindnesses do me some small mischief.

--Plutarch

Clear blue ocean washing on the sandy shore on a clear day in Cancún

Being summoned by the Athenians out of Sicily to plead for his life, Alcibiades absconded, saying that that criminal was a fool who studied a defence when he might fly for it.

--Plutarch

man sitting on concrete brick with opened laptop on his lap

It is wise to be silent when occasion requires, and better than to speak, though never so well.

--Plutarch

man sitting on wooden bench near black metal railings

When Demosthenes was asked what was the first part of Oratory, he answered, "Action," and which was the second, he replied, "action," and which was the third, he still answered "Action.

--Plutarch

yellow bee beside purple petaled flower during daytime

Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than yourself.

--Plutarch



silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

Nothing is cheap which is superfluous, for what one does not need, is dear at a penny.

--Plutarch

tan wallpaper

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.

--Plutarch

wormeye view photo of milky way

Politics is not like an ocean voyage or a military campaign... something which leaves off as soon as reached. It is not a public chore to be gotten over with. It is a way of life.

--Plutarch

pink concrete wall during daytime

Choose what is best, and habit will make it pleasant and easy.

--Plutarch

person standing on rock formation during daytime

A prating barber asked Archelaus how he would be trimmed. He answered, "In silence."

--Plutarch

pink rose in close up photography

Knowledge of divine things for the most part, as Heraclitus says, is lost to us by incredulity.

--Plutarch

photo og calm body of water

Instead of using medicine, better fast today.

--Plutarch

A view of the night showing stars

The first evil those who are prone to talk suffer, is that they hear nothing.

--Plutarch

pink rose in close up photography

The man who is completely wise and virtuous has no need of glory, except so far as it disposes and eases his way to action by the greater trust that it procures him.

--Plutarch

yellow tulip flowers

Pompey bade Sylla recollect that more worshipped the rising than the setting sun.

--Plutarch

blue sky with white clouds

The future bears down upon each one of us with all the hazards of the unknown. The only way out is through.

--Plutarch

shallow focus photography of purple flower

There are two sentences inscribed upon the Ancient oracle... "Know thyself" and "Nothing too much"; and upon these all other precepts depend.

--Plutarch

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

Prosperity is no just scale; adversity is the only balance to weigh friends.

--Plutarch

silhouette of mountains during starry night

Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.

--Plutarch

landscape photography of green tree

Music, to create harmony, must investigate discord.

--Plutarch

pink and white tulips on white surface

Nor let us part with justice, like a cheap and common thing, for a small and trifling price.

--Plutarch

selective focus of common poppy flower

Why does pouring Oil on the Sea make it Clear and Calm? Is it that the winds, slipping the smooth oil, have no force, nor cause any waves?

--Plutarch

A view of the night showing stars

The omission of good is no less reprehensible than the commission of evil.

--Plutarch

laughing woman photo

I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.

--Plutarch


grayscale photography of woman

Themistocles being asked whether he would rather be Achilles or Homer, said, "Which would you rather be, a conqueror in the Olympic games, or the crier that proclaims who are conquerors?

--Plutarch

purple and white clouds during night time

Plato used to say to Xenocrates the philosopher, who was rough and morose, "Good Xenocrates, sacrifice to the Graces.

--Plutarch


empty gray floor beside pool

Demosthenes overcame and rendered more distinct his inarticulate and stammering pronunciation by speaking with pebbles in his mouth.

--Plutarch


pink and white flower in close up photography

When one told Plistarchus that a notorious railer spoke well of him, "I'll lay my life," said he, "somebody hath told him I am dead, for he can speak well of no man living.'

--Plutarch

yellow green leaf

Grief is like a physical pain which must be allowed to subside somewhat on its own before medical treatment is applied.

--Plutarch

dew drops on glass panel

We ought to regard books as we do sweetmeats, not wholly to aim at the pleasantest, but chiefly to respect the wholesomest; not forbidding either, but approving the latter most.

--Plutarch

flowers

Philosophy is the art of living.

--Plutarch




brown mountains under blue sky

The measure of a man's life is the well spending of it, and not the length.

--Plutarch

three person looking stars and milky way

The giving of riches and honors to a wicked man is like giving strong wine to him that hath a fever.

--Plutarch

crack in wall

We are more sensible of what is done against custom than against nature.

--Plutarch

woman wearing black top standing near yellow wall

It is the usual consolation of the envious, if they cannot maintain their superiority, to represent those by whom they are surpassed as inferior to some one else.

--Plutarch

black and gray floral textile

Lamentation is the only musician that always, like a screech-owl, alights and sits on the roof of any angry man.

--Plutarch



white pendant lamp

Immoderate grief is selfish, harmful, brings no advantage to either the mourner or the mourned, and dishonors the dead.

--Plutarch


man in black jacket and black pants standing on brown rock formation during daytime

For it was not so much that by means of words I came to a complete understanding of things, as that from things I somehow had an experience which enabled me to follow the meaning of words.

--Plutarch

five woman standing on seashore

A good man will take care of his horses and dogs, not only while they are young, but when old and past service.

--Plutarch


lightning strike at night

Medicine to produce health must examine disease; and music, to create harmony must investigate discord.

--Plutarch




green trees under blue sky at daytime

The Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy but where are they.

--Plutarch


pink flower

These Macedonians are a rude and clownish people; they call a spade a spade.

--Plutarch

red rose

The present offers itself to our touch for only an instant of time and then eludes the senses.

--Plutarch

river between trees under blue sky

It is no disgrace not to be able to do everything; but to undertake, or pretend to do, what you are not made for, is not only shameful, but extremely troublesome and vexatious.

--Plutarch

brown pathway between green plants

Those who aim at great deeds must also suffer greatly.

--Plutarch

man holding smartphone in close up photography

If you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of mind, as by degrees will break out upon those who are your friends, or those who are indifferent to you.

--Plutarch

adobe wall

Dionysius the Elder, being asked whether he was at leisure, he replied, "God forbid that it should ever befall me!

--Plutarch

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